Lockheed Martin successfully fired two production representative Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles from a U.S. Air Force B-1B.

In the event over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, California, a U.S. Air Force B-1B from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, released the pair of LRASMs. The missiles navigated through all planned waypoints, transitioned to mid-course guidance and flew toward the moving maritime target using inputs from the onboard sensors. The missiles then positively identified the intended target and impacted successfully say the firm.

“The success of this second dual-LRASM test event speaks volumes,” said David Helsel, LRASM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

“As LRASM moves toward early operational fielding for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, the weapon system continues to demonstrate critical capabilities that our warfighters need.”

LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in contested environments.

Lockheed Martin said:

“LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range. It is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force warfighters in contested environments.

The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the U.S. Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement to be integrated onboard the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B in 2018 and on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.”

36 COMMENTS

  1. We need to acquire this missile. Launched from T26 and integrated into F35 if that’s possible from the ‘b’? Then get box launched JSM for the T31. Our ships have to have a credible way to attack other ships from range. Harpoon just won’t cut it against modern air defences.
    Ideally we should have a smaller cheap asm that can swarm and target specific critical areas of a ship, and a more expensive super stealthy high speed big hitter that can wreck in a single hit. They could even be used in combination against a powerful target, distract with lots of the small whilst the big hitter hides behind them. I hope this is what we will get with the Spear missiles but we hav 10 years to bridge. But off the shelf in limited numbers for this period.

    • I also think we need to rethink ship based missile systems. Most box launchers have a very limited number of missiles, which I presume can only be reloaded at port. With the air defence systems and number of defensive missiles modern frigates and destroyers carry now, they stand a good chance of taking out the attacking ASM’s, and would leave our ship unable to continue attacking. Back to port. We should be developing a cheap small missile system about the size of a aa missile. The object is to fire lots at a target, and each small warhead trying to blind and take out weapons or bridge rather than sink. By swarming we almost gaurentee to do damage and retire the ship from the combat. The system is then able to reload at sea and move to the next target. Do we think a 5” gun on the bow will really be used much for shore bombardment in this day and age? I doubt it personally. We could do a mix, some frigates designed for amphib support and are designated amphib fleet escorts, whilst the rest have a new reloadable asm system on the bow and can fight better at sea from a decent range. Give them a range similar to a medium or long ranged air to air missile and we could really hold an enemy at bay. Once the enemy ship is blinded or defences taken away, in comes the Lrasm to finish off the job.

    • Regarding range, we need to get this missile fitted to our P-8s and make sure we have enough to deploy them to our overseas bases to provide air cover for both tasks forces and solitary patrol frigates.

  2. For the swam side, what happened with the brimstone tests? I remember seeing a video where even the US were showing a little interest although it was clear they preferred the home grown option.

  3. We do indeed need to acquire this capability and fire it from T26 (Mk41 VLS) and F35 (underwing mount). As for a swarm style option, that will be provided by SPEAR3 fired from F35 (8 per aircraft).

    • What’s about from a task force with no carrier and no F35? What about if the carrier is damaged and out of action? Need to have a ship launched system so that if our primary delivery method is not available we have options.

      • MBDA have produced renders of SPEAR3 launching from a VLS silo and displayed models at defence exhibitions of a VLS SPEAR3 (SPEAR3 with a booster strapped to it). That doesn’t make it real but at least shows that MBDA have considered that option and hopefully it is designed with the option in mind if funding could be allocated to make it a reality. I think the VLS launch system envisaged is cold launch as well, i.e. probably from the same silos as Sea Ceptor. That would be a good swarm option and so long as T31 has a respectable number of cold launch VLS, as well as box launchers for heavier stuff, could give it useful capability even without any Mk41. T26 could host VLS SPEAR3 without problems of course.

  4. I guess the question that a lot of people will now be asking, especially in light of the advances in anti-ship missile technology from our adversaries, is:
    “Does this now make aircraft carriers more vunerable”
    This is a question for debate and not a criticism of our swanky new carriers, and comes from an ex airforce chap!!

  5. Paul our carriers would not be more vulnerable or should I say would be much less vulnerable if they had an adequate surface warship escort, enough astute class subs to patrol ahead and to their flanks to actively seek out and destroy enemy surface and subsurface threats and of course enough F35Bs to maintain a near impenetrable air defence screen.
    The RAF needs to be told to get behind the F35B as any attempt to purchase the A variant undermines the RN and carrier strike.
    We need a firm commitment and order asap for at least another 48 F35Bs to equip 4 fleet air arm squadrons (not RAF).
    What I am alluding to is the fact that the QE carriers potential is massive. We just need to required our baby and fleet air arm to maximise this potential.
    Should our fleet have LRASM…simple answer yes. For F35Bs, type 45 and type 26s as well as possibly type 31 mk41 vl cells (Arrowhead design)
    All other ships so rivers batch 1+2 and the tide/ future MARS class should have Norwegian anti ship missile.

    • Has the RAF ever considered operating the C model F35s as opposed to the A to allow future operations off a STOBAR or even better – Cat and Trap modified QE?

      Cheers!

      • The chances of refitting QE and PoW are minute due to the astronomical costs that would be involved. The navy are very happy with 2 large STOVL carriers and are unlikely to change them – still better than 95% of the world’s navies.

      • We could never generate the air wing required for a cats and traps carrier, the French have mare keeping their air crews carrier qualified.

        The beauty of the f35b that most people forget is that it’s incredibly simple to qualify a pilot for carrier ops, meaning you can just about take an airforce squadron and pop it on the carrier, which is impossible for cats and traps.

        This means as long as the MOD keeps to its plans and does not get side tracked with buying F35As we could in a decade or two go from a qualified carrier air wing of 24 airframes and pilots to within a matter of weeks filling up two carriers with 100 or more aircraft and qualified crews (the captain of the QE has gone on record saying in extremis you could fit 70 airframes on the ship). This is the reason it was always nuts for the UK to even think Cats and Traps. It’s all about the speed at which you can qualify pilots.

        Only the US is really able to generate the numbers of cats and traps qualified pilots so as not to sweat over avaliablity of air crews.

        • Martin the only plan for the C model was at the time they considered the cats and traps one carrier only route for a few months under the previous Tory government. There have been rumblings of a split buy of As for years. It started well before Hammonds we will buy 48 Bs and will then consider future purchases, but his speech has always left the door wide open.

          The purchase of the C without carriers for them to operate on would be a a very um unwise move, it would essentially flush money down the toilet. The abiding issue with the A is that even though it would hobble our carriers it’s cheaper and has slightly better legs, the C has the legs but with a massive cost increase.

  6. Hi Paul. I wouldn’t say this makes our carriers more vulnerable, it just highlights vulnerabilities which are already known to exist. The way in which the carriers will be used is with a “tailor made” supporting task force which would be dependant on the mission being undertaken. If the carries were being used in a hot war scenario where lrasm were a known threat, I would suspect they would have a sizeable task force providing support. The main risk of this way of operating is that it doesn’t take into account cold to hot war events nor surprises. If a carrier decided to deploy on a peacekeeping mission to a low threat environment, and so say was only given one type 26 as an escort, and say Russia/ China decided to launch a salvo of lrasm missiles at her, chances are she would get sunk. I believe what the politicians assume is that this is very unlikely to happen, they forsee a gradual step change in world events as a precursor to any military strikes on UK assets. The problem I have with this is that in my opinion these gradual step changes are occurring (China’s stealthy massive military build up and refusal to follow global norms, Russia’s increased refusal to follow global rules and persistent breaking of them) and there is currently no realistic step change to meet them from the UK’s sude bar the recent defence review.

  7. “The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the U.S. Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement to be integrated onboard the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B in 2018 and on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.”

    No mention of F-35. What’s the deal there?

    With JSM integration planned for F-35 (only external for the F-35B unfortunately), probably a good possibility of P-8A integration given the Norwegians and Australian are getting some of those (and those are the two countries funding the JSM integration with F-35), plus box-launched NSM already in service JSM/NSM would seem to be the other most interesting option.

      • Helions as far as I’m aware the F35b will not have the capability to deliver the B61 free fall bucket of sunshine ( that’s US/UK and whoever else). It does not fit in the weapons bays and I don’t believe I’ve seen described anywhere as a mounted on a wing hard point. Generally nations are not shy about nuclear capability so I’d be supprised if there was a hidden capability.

        TNWs are no longer part of the U.K. Arsenal so we have no use for that ability. Although I believe there are B61s stored in the UK these are not for release to the UK but for US forces ( unlike the B61s stored in other NATO Nations).

        On a personal note I,ve always supported our strategic deterrent and the policy that treats it not as a military tool for victory but a single purpose ultimate deterrent against a number of less than specified acts. but I think tactical nucs are a incredibly destabilising and ( with the Chinese and Russian views on their usage being one of its a valid military tool) likely to cause a bad end.

        • Thank you for the reply Jonathan, I was wondering if the RAF “A” models were going to get the capability under the NATO nuclear sharing program (heck even the Turks have access to them).

          The Chinese in particular should be a cause for concern over first use of tac nukes, the CCP leadership, after building up strident nationalism in their population against the West, know they might not survive in the face of a humiliating military disaster if and when they commit the PLA /PLAN to a large scale military engagement – especially if it was against the U.S. or Japan – or a failed invasion of Taiwan…

          I believe that a defeat of that scale would force them to up their hand and possibly use tac nukes in a bid to save face with their population. It would most likely be against the Japanese or the Taiwanese in a calculation that the U.S. would not respond in kind because it was not directed at us.

          They would be dead wrong in that but the CCP leadership thinks the West is weak and does not believe we are committed enough to our allies to risk a nuclear war. We would absolutely respond in kind (probably against those glorified sand bars in the SCS) we would have no other choice.

          Russia rattles its nuclear sabre a lot but has no intention if using it because (unlike China) the Russians know they would not win and destroying the Rodina is not something they would do except in an extreme situation – it means too much to them in a spiritual way we fail to grasp in the West.

          Cheers!

    • F-35C doesn’t have IOC until 2019 and is currently not scheduled for deployment till 20-21. So the Navy is working on getting LRASM variants for the Super Hornets, the new box launchers, and Mk.41 first.

      • The USN needs to get the box launchers on the LCS to give them some real punch as opposed to just Hellfires with very limited range…

        Cheers!

  8. I did read an article that suggested the future of air combat was actually in large aircraft and the days of small single seat fighters was numbered.

    In this individuals view the rapid development of high off bore sight BVR missiles with the ability to sustain 50g + manovering means that small agile fighters are a bit life limited and the future is in large airframes with great capability/jamming/processing power/range/ weapons payload ect.

    Not sure if he was right but it was an interesting read.

  9. I really hope they develop the deck launcher, then we can fit it to T45 and T23 then role it across to T26 and even T31. Mk41 launcher can be used for TLAM, ASROC and SM3 then and we don’t have to GAP capability for another decade. Also gives T31 an effectiveland Attack capability.

  10. I’d be more impressed if the test prooved it could get past the Russian anti missile defences, or even past phalanx.
    I thought our next generation ASM was Perseus, though we need a stopgap until that’s ready in 10 years or more. Sending DDG/FFGs to sea with no ASM should never be considered.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here